Preparing to win

Bout preparation for me is all about sticking to the same routines. These routines help me build up my confidence so that I can play the best possible game. However, the level of routines can some times reach a level nearing superstition. This is certainly true for my team, Kallio Rolling Rainbow. We always have the same cheer for every bout. The one time we tried another cheer, we played the worst game ever. I certainly spent more time on my face than on my skates that day.

Eat and rest

Eating right before the game is certainly important. However, the week leading up to big bouts is not the time to make drastic changes in your normal diet. I try to cut out all the crap like sweets and pizza but otherwise I eat pretty much the same as I always do. I also aim to eat a little more carbs then usual, especially on the night before the bout.

By far the biggest challenge is what and when to eat on the actual bout day. Having once eaten way too late in the day and suffered the consequences of vomiting in my mouth multiple times during the bout, I don’t want to repeat that mistake. This year at EROC, we had a very useful session from the coaches at Dynamic Sports Academy. Their recommendation was to eat a bigger meal about 3 hours before the bout and I have found this to work well for me. The optimal meal, at least according to them, is a pasta salad with some sort of protein whether that may be tofu or turkey. And interestingly white carbs work best just before the sports performance, otherwise of course whole wheat is generally better. They also recommended eating a granola bar and drinking one litre of water mixed with a little bit of salt and sugar approximately 1 hour before. I am usually pretty nervous by that point so I don’t really feel hungry. But forcing myself to eat a little something shortly before the game has helped me to maintain my energy all the way throughout the bout. Additionally, carbs have the benefit of calming down your stomach when you are nervous.

Rest is another big factor affecting performance on bout days. I try to rest at least two or better yet three days before the bout. However, just sitting on the sofa isn’t a very good idea as that can just lead to muscles becoming stiff. So I aim to do very slow impact exercises for example swimming or pleasant walks with team mates work well for me.

Getting into the feeling

Mental preparation plays a big part for me. It takes many forms. During the bout day, I have a very specific play list. I alternate between angry rap and Katy Perry. Somehow that is the key to me being in the perfect mood and feeling strong. For some other people, I know bout outfits can have a similar role. If your ass looks good, then it does great things on the track.

Just before the bout, as part of the warm ups, my team also does a few mental exercises. We each say something that we should keep in mind during the bout. For example, we’ll always do everything 100% and we’ll always trust our teammates to also do their part. Secondly, each player imagines their ideal jam: that one jam where everything goes right. That’s usually the last thing we do before we go on track feeling ready to win.

// Schlagerlöf